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How to Improve MS-Related Imbalance

How to Improve MS-Related Imbalance

Faith of the Mustard Seed
One of the earliest symptoms that appeared before my multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis was imbalance. I remember turning my head to look at something and feeling slightly off-balance. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but that wobbly sensation gradually increased through the years.

Occasionally, I would bump into walls and nearly fall, appearing drunk, and clumsy. I knew something was off, but I wasn’t sure what was causing my balance problems.

The article, “Causes of balance and walking problems,” from the Multiple Sclerosis Society U.K., examines why MS patients may experience issues with their balance. It stresses how many body parts need to work together in order to have “good balance.”

According to the article, our brains have difficulty relaying the information they receive when MS is present. The connection can be faulty due to the damage caused by MS. Therefore, it affects how the brain shares information and causes imbalance.

Vision, and inner ear and sensory issues in MS are some of the problems that can affect your balance. However, balance issues can also be caused by vertigo, inner ear infections, or something else unrelated to MS, which is why it is important to speak to your doctor if you notice any changes in your balance.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society U.K. suggests making an appointment with a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, or an MS nurse to help with MS-related balance issues. Anyone of them can help set up an exercise routine to help improve posture and strengthen your muscles to make them more supple. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are some other strengthening and stretching exercise options.

Also mentioned were common techniques to help improve imbalance such as vestibular exercises and compensation techniques. Vestibular exercises use brief moments of loss of balance in order to teach you how to regain it. Be sure to speak to your doctor before attempting these types of exercises.

Fatigue or spasticity also can impact balance, so it is best to try to manage those issues by talking to your doctor to find some more helpful options. By strengthening your muscles and core and becoming more flexible, you will have a better chance of tipping the scales in your favor and improving your balance.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
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  1. Dr. Gale Nigrosh says:

    Recently, Medicare has stated that Pilates-based PT is only covered when provided by a licensed physical therapist, few of whom are trained in Pilates for MS. For
    3 yrs., I’ve worked on MS balance problems with a PT Assistant highly trained in Pilates and focused on MS. My neurologist has noted my flexibility and core strength. Now that Medicare no longer covers care provided by a PTA, but only by a licensed Phys. Therapist, I must self-pay for PTA Pilates training, and can only afford 1 session per week, rather than 2. The result: daily falls, cuts, stitches, EXPENSIVE trips to the ER covered by Medicare!

    for the last 3 yrs.

    balancetwice weekly

    • Debi Wilson says:

      I’m sorry Dr.Gail! Medicare coverage doesn’t make sense sometimes, that is for sure! Best to you, Debi

  2. Cathy says:

    I’ve had terrible vertigo/dizziness since my MS started. I just came back from Mayo clinic and they said it was because of the location of lesions on my brain. Nothing they can do about it. It’s the only symptom of my MS that makes from feeling normal. I’ll just have learn to live with it.

  3. Adrienne says:

    Can glatimere acetate help with balance issues with MS? I was diagnosed 20 years ago with RRMS and did pretty well. I was on Copaxone for 12 years but then starting having relapses again. My neurologist took me off of the Copaxone because he didn’t think it was helping anymore. I then tried tecfidera and then plegridy but had severe symptoms from both and couldn’t tolerate. I was a runner for decades and always into health and wellness. Now after an exacerbation that has lasted over 6 months he put me back on glatimere acetate because I couldn’t afford Copaxone.
    It has been about 10 weeks on the glatimere and my fatigue, off balance and sleepiness is worse than ever.
    Do you think I need to give the glatimere more time or should I try another Ms therapy. I have no quality of life and am very depressed.
    Thank you

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